Gertrude Ederle (1906-2003)
Known as ‘Queen of the Waves’ Ederle was a phenomenal swimmer. Between 1921 and 1925 she held twenty-nine national and world records. On August 6, 1926, she set out to be the first woman to swim the English Channel. Typically, this feat would require swimming twenty-one miles, but because of the water turbulence and stormy weather she was forced to swim thirty-five miles. However, her time, fourteen hours and thirty-one minutes, was nearly two hours faster than any man had swum it before her. Her landmark victory was celebrated by a crowd of 2 million well-wishers upon her arrival back to New York. In 1965 she was among the first wave of inductees in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.